Monday, October 31, 2011

Okay, I'll admit it...I just want the candy.

(Original post from October 29, 2010)

I'm probably going to offend a few people today...

But then again, when has that ever stopped me from writing something? I just want to plead with Christians to lighten up a bit when it comes to Christmas, Easter and...Halloween!


Not the eve of evil, the celebration of satanic, the ALL HALLOWS EVE! As God fearing faithful, we can't condone the night dedicated to the living dead! What are you thinking?!

The blogosphere is full of post today addressing the issues of Halloween, so naturally, I'm jumping in with mine. I mean seriously, do you think my 3-year old has any idea the origin hails back loosely to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain? I'm pretty sure she doesn't even know any Celtics...besides, we are all Lakers fans. Purple and gold baby!

Every holiday season, the Celebration Police show up and start spouting off about the secular roots of this, the demonic connections to that, the square root of...anyway. Most do it in the name of Jesus. Funny thing is...I don't ever remember Jesus ranting about any of this nonsense. To me, the Celebration Police come off a lot like Tony C...don't go there...don't say it... a lot like...don't say it Tony C... the Pharisees!

I can't believe you went there!

Believe it brother, that just actually happened. Christians need to accept we live in the secular world. Our job is to put God in all we do. That's how we don't become of the world. I could care less where Christmas started. In my home, we focus on the Christ element of the season. Same with Easter. Halloween is a little more challenging, but I've found a few costume idea's that might appease the Celebration Police just a tad:

Where it all started...
With thanks to David Johndrow at Fire & Grace, nothing screams Christian like the fall of man. (Recommended for adults only)

God's Holy Word
Ring doorbell. Say 'Trick or Treat.' Receive candy. Jump on top of them. Bible bashing on a whole new level. Amen.

Eternal Lake of Fire
One of my personal favorites. A little tricky getting in and out of the car.

Sorry. I was emailing that to Mrs. Tony C for a Christmas present idea (how embarrassing).

If you chose not to celebrate Halloween this or any other year...more power to you. That's your call, and I respect that. But if you get a hankering for a Twix bar Monday night...swing through Stone Edge Subdivision. I'll be dressed like an Egyptian handing them out.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nothing displays your true character quite like sticky-backed colored paper...

There are a number of things I observe and find amusing while on my daily commute to and from work each workday...

I love to see people jamming and singing in their cars because...well... I too am a rock star on wheels with a range of vocals, air instrument talents and genres that put Burt Bacharach to shame. Okay... maybe that's just Sesame Street's Bert to shame. Concerts daily for two shows only.

Then there's the 'dodge and weave' drivers that I just love bottling up with the strategic cooperation of a slow, left-lane driver. Slow down fool!  Bwhahaha! Very entertaining. (I just might have control issues...)

But oh how I love the bumper stickers! I got this picture sitting at a red light watching a middle-aged white guy smoking a cigarette waiting for the light too. Buddhist in East Tennessee?! That would be quite unique. Wonder what the Tibetan Monks would think about him flicking his cigarette butt out on the ground?

Let's take a look at a few of my favorite bumper decors I see with commuting frequency-

Hmmm. What Good Book they are reading?

Mean? Yes. But I chuckle anyway.

No...this isn't my pastor's vehicle. (He has the Rosie one)
Might be a bit of a mixed message. Doesn't make it not true though...

I'd just like to...nope...second thoughts...leaving this one alone.

Fellow graduate from the Academy of Sarcasm.


Then there's the one that drives my absolutely crazy (previous rant)-

I've got an idea to fix and correct this pop culture poison...what do you think?

Pretty sure I'll be hearing from the political correctness police or somebody's attorney soon...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

To boldly go where no man has gone before...

I love my daughters more than life itself...but three kids are plenty enough to keep me busy...thank you very much.

Since I'm a take responsibility kinda guy (ahem), logic would dictate it is therefore time for me to step up to the plate and do my part in population control within the Tony C household...given Mrs. Tony C's consent naturally.

So, I had a consult appointment with a urologist just yesterday.

Granted, yours truly done his fair share of doling out my uneasiness this time last year in my visits with Mrs. Tony C's OB/GYN appointments, but this wouldn't be anything like that...right? I mean, this is guy's territory, so how hard could it be...for a guy?

Unlike my attitude of ignorance is bliss at the OB/GYN office, I went a little prepared with researched information yesterday. After all, we are talking about...well...a couple of dear friends. By the way, I highly recommend NOT doing an internet search for urologist, vasectomy or any other related words without the Safe Content filter being engaged on your search engine. Trust me. Some information is best left unknown (not to mention images unseen).

As I'm waiting for the doctor in my exam room, I couldn't help but note how utilitarian the whole setup seemed. After all, guys don't really need fancy paintings, flowers, or graphic charts and displays to make us comfortable about the whole process. I mean it's a snip, snip and bag of frozen peas kinda deal. Heck, it was so pragmatic...there wasn't even a picture on the wall. Just this...

I mean we're in Manville! So relaxed and at ease, I settled into a good game of Angry Birds while waiting on the white coat. Let me state by nature, I'm just not a very nosey person. But...I couldn't help from overhearing the conversation going on across the hall because both of our doors were open, and it was obvious there was a tad bit of anxiety being conveyed between a man and, I presume, his wife:

Dude Across Hall: I sure hope that doctor don't stick his finger in my butt this time.

Assumed Spouse: You'll do exactly what he needs you to do I'll tell you. You want to get better don't you?!

Dude: Why of course I do! But I just don't like that part. I mean need to leave during that.

Obviously the Wife: Well I reckon I've seen your backside plenty. Stop being a baby about it.

Dude: Can I stick my finger in your butt?

Wife: Why Lord no you can't do that!! does my bottom have to do with your condition?!

Dude: Well it's just uncomfortable is all.

Thank goodness her cell phone rang because I was mere seconds from bust-out-loud laughter that would have been impossible to hide. Of course, noticing this on the counter beside me also helped squelch my amusement at dude's expense rather quickly...

What the heck does that have to do with getting a vasectomy!

Apparently, my research didn't cover that part...stupid internet.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In God we trust...unless you're offended by that of course.

Okay...I stirred up more than one lengthy comment thread on various social media sites with my last post. Good. That was my intent.

When it comes to public office, I'm a firm believer that all issues concerning a given candidate running for office are fair game. Do I like seeing or reading dirty laundry? Absolutely not. But we all own the actions or words we chose daily, so why should political candidates be any different?

Choosing to ignore a candidate's view on matters of faith is only adding to the marginalization of faith already dominating this country. Now I'm being completely transparent on this issue. There's no hidden agenda. I'm a Christian voter who places a lot of emphasis on the adjective in that label. Removing my Christian values from any decision-making process is counter intuitive at best...blatant disregard for my faith at worst (Romans 12:2 among others) I shouldn't  feel pressure from the political correctness police to wave off or disregard the issue when it comes to voting.
Apparently, I'm far from alone when it comes to Romney. This past weekend, Pew Research conducted a survey of 1007 voting adults that included an open-answer description giving one-word responses-

Given the amount of negative connotations associated in the survey with the other two candidate's names, Herman Cain should be lauding these results. I don't know if I'm more intrigued by Perry's list or Cain's...but I had to chuckle that 19 people associated pizza with Cain. Once a pizza-chain mogul always a pizza-chain mogul...I suppose.

It was really good pizza.

So what's my point in all of this? Believe me, I'm not trying to steer people away from Mitt Romney. All things considered, he is a highly qualified candidate. Also, that is a personal matter for each individual voter.  I just don't want the left-leaning media, the out-of-control train called political correctness, or any political caucus for that matter telling me I shouldn't consider the faith of a candidate running for the highest office in our Nation...or any other office for that matter.

That's a clear contradiction to my individual right to practice my religion which is actually in the Constitution. Try finding the words separation of church and state in the same document...  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hang on! We're in for a bumpy ride...

Most people knew it was coming, but I have to admit I'm surprised a Baptist pastor fired the shot and not the liberal-leaning, Godaphobes in the media. But then again...

Personally, I have very divided feeling about my subject matter today. As a conservative, I really like a lot of what Mitt Romney brings to the table. He's just center-right enough to appeal to a broad base of the voting public, and frankly, his platform is pretty solid when compared to the other Republican candidates in my opinion.

Let me pause right here for a moment for a disclaimer. If you're new to this blog, please note I'm not a R-party or D-party kind of guy. I have numerous issues with BOTH parties, there just happen to be fewer of them with the R's at the moment. I'm not a "dang you!" Barrack Obama flag waver either (or finger waver for that matter). My issues are with his policies...not his persona. Now back to the show...

As a constitutionalist, I understand the grave importance of keeping religion and politics separate issues. That's not saying that religion doesn't have part in matters of politics. Democratic governments are obligated to protect any one's right to practice their faith without risk or threat of persecution. Religion just shouldn't run the state as you see in some Muslim countries. Faith is a matter of choice by God's design...not mandated by legislation.

As a position gets a bit more muddled. Having declared the first two positions as a conservative and a constitutionist, it almost seems hypocritical to say I have a problem voting for a candidate who is a known Mormon....but honestly...I do. Above every other adjective, attribute or modifier that can be used to categorized me, I'm a follower of Jesus first and foremost. Period.

That's just how I roll...

Should it matter what faith the leader of our country professes and follows?  Absolutely. As a man of faith and an advocate for Christ, I don't see how it could be any other way if I truly believe what I claim to believe. I can't wholeheartedly trust in and share the Holy Bible while voluntarily supporting someone who believes that same Bible is flawed and incomplete. If you're curious exactly what Mormonism teaching, here is an excellent overview.

Before you start throwing the 'judge not lest you be judged' spears at me, this isn't a matter of rendering eternal damnation judgement on anyone. Not my call, and believe me, I'm cool with that. This is about choice. This is about principles. For me, it boils down to this...does my confidence in the man's ability to effectively lead this nation become overshadowed by my complete sadness at his choice to put his faith in a deluded religion?

Would I vote for a Muslim? An atheist? How about a Scientologist?

Yes...that is a very personal matter. But it's also a fundamental question Christians better reflect upon before casting what could be a decisive vote in any election.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Land ho! Let's park by those nice looking huts...

Admit at least giggled a little at this.

There's no way I'm the only American who finds Columbus Day as a federal holiday a joke. I mean, neither George Washington nor Abraham Lincoln get their own individually recognized day as a holiday...and they actually accomplished something for our country!

Historical evidence has come to show that the Vikings, the Basques and even the Chinese had all footed North America long before the Santa Marie put in anchor in 1492. Not to mention, exactly how in the world do you get credit for discovering an occupied territory? (Hint- the indigenous people didn't belong to the Roman Catholic Church)

With all the political correctness goop flying around these days, it amazes me this issue isn't dripping with the stuff. Although the liberal-leaning world of academia is in constant scream mode about  presenting truth, the facts (as if they'd know the truth even if it ran over them), our children still read textbooks that credit Christopher Columbus with finding our continent and none of us are getting mail today as a continuation of this preposterous claim.

Columbus no more discovered America than I discovered my glabella washing my face this morning (that's the space between your eyebrows...that is if you have two...eyebrows that is). So why, oh why, do we continue perpetuating this myth?

Now before Italian-Americans get all up in arms about me not justly recognizing their native culture and contributions on a global scale, let me state I'm a huge fan of Leonardo Da Vinci, Luciano Pavarotti and hey...Giada De Laurentiis is on my television set at least five times a week. Her Food Network recipes rock, not to mention she's pretty easy on the eyes...I'm just saying.

So, let's give it a rest. Shall we? Write or call your worthless representative in our federal government and give them a fair choice. Balance the stinking budget or do away with Columbus Day as a federal holiday. Can you at least get one of the two done?

Feel free to suggest replacing the holiday with say...Neil Armstrong Day. Now that was a genuine first step onto unfounded territory!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Don't hate the player...hate the game.

Sometimes, I'm just not a very good person...

Take just last night for example. I was coming home from a Wednesday night series we are doing at church called Essentials. As a matter of fact, yours truly was the speaker last night for the second of  three parts I'm presenting on the Bible. The focus was on the authenticity of God's Word, and the detractors that have created a fracture of skepticism in our society concerning that authenticity.

...and yes, of course. Political correctness was one of the detractors discussed.

While the conceptual goal of political correctness is to reduce or marginalize an attitude of malice directed at any particular group based on socio-economic demographics (read hate crimes here), the actual result has been an increased attitude of hostility and air of intolerance aimed directly at Christians.

Listen up's against our by-laws to hate anyone!

But often, too often, we bring these feelings of contempt on ourselves. Back to last night.

After finishing up an hour-long interactive class and the impromptu follow-up discussions in post-presentation, I headed home to catch the days news on my DVR'd NewsHour program in a little decompression time.  I made what I presumed to be a quick stop at a convenience store for a bottle of water...okay, okay...AND a stick of Laffy Taffy. Cherry flavored. No sprinkles.

There's only two people in front of me, and they're together. At first, I was zoned out mentally reviewing my presentation and critiquing what I felt could be done better next week. Be more yourself , be Tony  kept echoing in my thoughts as a piece of positive reinforcement advice that came from a highly respected friend after the class.

What is taking so blasted long?

Now I'm focused on the two people at the counter bartering with the cashier. The problem was over exactly what could be paid for by using a welfare card and what couldn't. Now I'm aggravated. The purchase was two packs of cigarettes, two soft drinks, a bag of beef jerky, a prepackaged pickle and a lottery ticket. I'm sorry...I looked.

I then glanced down to notice the girl was wearing American Eagle jeans and some trendy shoe name my teenager is always pestering me about, and the other person (I'd be completely guessing if I stated either male or female) was wearing similar clothing but had a wallet on a chain out (doesn't disqualify previous remark in parenthesis, at least not here) looking for the welfare card.

The transaction is finally completed with all but the smokes and lottery ticket coming off the welfare card. A promise to pay back is met with a remark about having plenty on the card this month, and then both people pick up their iPhones from the counter and head for the door. I'm not really sure if the clerk has broken the law or not, so as tempted as I am to comment...I swallow and refrain.

Exiting with my water and taffy,  I passed by the two in a conversation with a Sheriff's Deputy who had also stopped. The conversation was friendly and light-hearted with a parting comment by the deputy that he hoped not to see one of the two persons anytime this month, insinuating frequent encounters with the law were quite common for the person. Everyone was having a good laugh as I got into my 1999 Mazda Protege. They got into a late model Dodge Ram truck with a very nice trim package.

Honestly, I'm heart-broken and ashamed by my feelings as I write this, but they're still prominently there and burning. There were so many verses of Scripture flooding my mind last night...and today as I write this as well. Scripture not pertaining to the other people involved in this story...but directed at my attitude.

I'd love to hear your thoughts Tony C Today readers...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Professor Hinkle's heart was just in the wrong place...

September is always a tough month for me from a work standpoint. That's by no means a complaint. Just a a fact. I'm very thankful to have not only a job when so many people don't...I'm actually blessed with a job I greatly enjoy.

This past month, I probably overextended myself just a bit more than usual. In addition to the craziness of work, preparing for my weekly Sunday School class and. oh yeah, being the dad of three active girls, I also agreed to be a presenter in a new weekly series at church called Essentials. My segment on the Bible started last week, so my preparation work was ongoing throughout the month.

If you've never taught a Sunday School class or lead a Bible study group, let me state you are really missing out on a blessing. The time and effort required to prepare for either ministry is time with the Holy Spirit I absolutely treasure and adore. Actually, the time is also tremendously edifying for me personally and strengthens my daily walk as well.

While I've been a tad stressed over the overall load of responsibilities over the past month, I was never even remotely tempted to cut corners in any of the areas mentioned. Truth is, my time with you here was about my only sacrifice...but I promise to make up for that neglect as we scream toward the holidays. As the readership of this personally reflective blog has steadily increased, I do feel a certain obligation to produce. Yes, there may be a touch of egocentricity kicking too...but I truly relish in the thought that maybe, just maybe, one of my anecdotes or observations might bring a smile to someone on a day when smiles have been hard to find...or, maybe provoke someone to interreflect on God's love in their life.

I've got to get beezsy, beezsy, beezsy...

I also feel a sense of duty with this blog. My original tone has shifted a little from political perspectives of a Christian man trying to figure out God's place in all of this mess we call civics to more of a reflection on my daily walk. I'm just a normal kind of bloak struggling in a fallen world like everyone else...I just happen to like writing about it. One of my good friends and fellow bloggers will occasionally point out the element of narcissism in that fact, and she's very much right. But, I also look at Tony C Today as an opportunity to serve God in the quirky way he blessed me. Yet another blogging friend, David Johndrow, says if sarcasm is a spiritual gift...the two of us are destined for patriarchal status when we're finally martyred.

Let me close by sharing this with you. Despite the seemingly unnecessary stress of taking on too many responsibilities at once, I started a new month sharing even more time with the young people in my Sunday School last night for dinner. Through their fellowship, discussions, inquiries and even shared trials and troubles, God has poured more blessing on this old boy than I could ever possibly deserve. I'm very thankful to be busy...for Him and His glory.

Don't sell yourself short of the same blessings. Get busy for God and then get ready to be blessed.